Brief Summary from
the Encyclopedia of Life
by Jacqueline Courteau
© Jacqueline Courteau
montana, mountain soursop or wild custard apple, is a
tropical fruit tree in the Annonaceae family. Related species include
cherimoya (A. cherimola)
and soursop (A. muricata);
paw paw (Asimina triloba)
is also in the family. Mountain soursop is native to Central America,
the Amazon, and islands in the Caribbean. In its native range, it grows
at altitudes from sea level to 650 metres (2,130 ft, Wikipedia 2011).
is occasionally cultivated, and is adaptable to a wide range of soil
types and is hardier than many other tropical fruit trees, capable of
tolerating temperatures below freezing for brief periods. The trees,
which are evergreen, grow to 10 m (33 feet) tall, with a spreading
crown and very glossy leaves.
Mountain soursop trees bear fruit
more or less continuously starting two to three years after planting.
Fruits are about 15 cm (5.9 inches) long, nearly round, with dark green
skin covered with dense soft prickles and dark brown hairs (FOC 2011).
Fruits have a yellow, fibrous flesh that is aromatic, sour to bitter,
and contains many light-brown, plump seeds. Fruits are considered
inferior to the soursop (Popenoe 1920), so although it is occasionally
cultivated, commercial production is not frequent.
soursop, which along with soursop is also known as graviola, has
numerous traditional medicinal uses in South American and the
Caribbean. Fruit, seeds, bark, leaves, and roots have all been used to
treat intestinal parasites, coughs (including asthma and bronchitis),
inflammation, diabetes, and hypertension, among many uses (Taylor
2005). Research on extracts of graviola have documented antiviral,
antiparasitic, antirheumatic, anti-inflammatory, and antihyperglycemic
properties; it has also been used as an anti-depressant and at least
one study has found it effective against multi-drug resistant cancer
cells (Sloan-Kettering 2011, Oberlies et al. 1997).
are the alkaloid compounds thought to be responsible for these effects,
although other components, including quinolones, annopentocins, and
annomuricins may also be involved. In addition to the health benefits,
mountain soursop (along with other members of the Annonaceae family)
also contains small amounts of neurotoxic alkaloids, such as annonacin,
which appear to be linked to atypical Parkinsonism and other
neurological effects if consumed frequently or in large quantities
(Sloan-Kettering 2011Champy et al. 2005, Caparros-Lefebvre and Elbaz
Graviola has become popular as a nutritional
supplement and is sold in health food stores and online. Data on
quantities harvested and sold commercially are difficult to find, but
least one supplier claims that materials are harvested in the wild in
Amazon rainforests (Raintree 2011).
D., and A. Elbaz A. 1999. Possible relation of atypical parkinsonism in
the French West Indies with consumption of tropical plants: a
Caribbean Parkinsonism Study Group. Lancet
354(9175):281-6. PMID: 10440304 Champy, P., A. Melot, V.
Guérineau Eng, C. Gleye, D. Fall, G.U. Höglinger, M.
Ruberg, A. Lannuzel, O. Laprévote, A. Laurens, and R.
Quantification of acetogenins in Annona
muricata linked to atypical parkinsonism in Guadeloupe.
Movement Disorders 20(12): 1629-33. PMID: 16078200 FOC. 2011.
Macfayden. Flora of China 19: 711, 712. Retrieved 11 November 2011 from
Oberlies, N.H., C.J. Chang, and J.L. McLaughlin. 1997.
relationships of diverse Annonaceous acetogenins against multidrug
resistant human mammary adenocarcinoma (MCF-7/Adr) cells. Journal of
Medical Chemistry 40: 2102–6. PIER. 2011.
US Forest Service, Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER). Online
resource accessed 1 November 2011 at
Wilson. 1920. Manual of tropical and subtropical fruits: excluding the
banana, coconut, pineapple, citrus fruits, olive, and fig. New York:
Macmillan. Pp. 192–3. Retrieved 13 November 2011 from
GoogleBooks, http://books.google.com/books?Raintree. 2011.
“Graviola max” and “Raintree philosophy.”
Accessed 13 November 2011 from
http://www.rain-tree.com/comerce2.htm Sloan-Kettering. 2011.
From About Herbs database, Integrative Medicine Service, Memorial
Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Retrieved 13 November 2011 from
http://www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/69245.cfm. Taylor, L. 2005.
healing power of rainforest herbs: a guide to understanding and using
herbal medicinals.. Garden City Park, NY: Square One Publishers. 535 p.
In Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 13 November 2011 from